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to take his place. the post is reporting that the president wants senator john kerry to serve as the defense secretary despite his desire to serve as secretary of state. insiders say that position would likely go to u.s. ambassador susan rice. >>> law makers are returning to capitol hill after the election season break. and they have a full plate of unfinished business. the biggest challenge is avoiding the double hit to the economy of tax increases and automatic spending cuts. besides avoiding the fiscal cliff, they have a half dozen hearings on the resignation of david patraeus. and the attack on the u.s. consulate in libya. >> happening now, the murder trial of a buoy state university student. opening statements set to begin in a half hour. alexis simpson is accused of killing her roommate. killed her last year after the two argued over music played on an i pod. if convicted, she faces life in prison without parole. >>> another case we're following former dc council chairman kwame brown will be sentenced in court later today. bank fraud and campaign finance charges. separat
if he really put muscle into it. other folks people have mentioned, john kerry. problem there, a special election in a few months in massachusetts. scott brown just defeated, he could turn around and run for that seat. it's not a slam dunk. i think that -- >> which would give the republicans -- >> yeah. so going to be considerations if he picks somebody from the senate to fill these slots. >> leon panetta, likely to depart. who might remace him? >> i think it's a tough job to find a good replacement. there's all kinds of people who have been in top positions, mullen, who has been the joint chiefs of staff. there are people who get mentioned. but the thing i think with the panetta decision and the timing is sort of critical there. if we're facing the potential for a military showdown with iran, we're facing a lot of other iran situations, a lot of other tense situations around the world, it's quite possible that panetta gets drafted to stay a little bit longer until some of these situations are worked out. tim geithner is another example, treasury secretary. while we have a fiscal cliff s
profiles, hillary clinton and tim geitner. john kerry could step into clinton's shoes when she leaves. >> time now to get a check on today's other top stories. >> for that we turn to sara. >> good morning. sentencing day for the man who shot former arizona congress woman gabby giffords. learn his punishment for the shooting rampage that killed 6 people. some of the dozen victims wounded will have the chance to confront the gunman who pleaded guilty three months ago that guarantees him a life sentence without parole. giffords and her husband will be in the courtroom. >>> they are using under cover police officers to track down the suspect. 9 women have been attacked so far. all of them grabbed from behind before the suspect took off. the latest attack happened last thursday in springfield. >>> also in fairfax county police are searching for a man who attacked a 17-year-old girl inside a library bathroom. she says the man followed her into the bathroom. after she went in there because she didn't feel safe leaving alone at night. workers called police after they heard the girl scream and
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